What is a Youth Development Program

Ever been asked what is a youth development program? Youth development programs believe that developing abilities like resilience, self-awareness, resourcefulness, and other attributes help young people navigate the tricky path of adolescence in many healthy ways. 

There is, however, an important difference between typical youth development programs and a variety of other organized programs that may offer youth activities or strategies to prevent high risk behaviors.

Programs that incorporate this particular positive approach to development often view young people as mere resources to be developed, rather than as problems that need to be corrected. 

Their goals are to promote the positive in young people, including competency-building skills, life skills, social skills, academic improvement, motivation, community involvement, and more. These kinds of programs have evolved by applying the research in positive youth development to youth programming.

While preventative youth programs can indeed also help build the Six C’s, their stated goals are aimed at preventing or stopping problem behavior. For example, these types of youth programs may reduce violence, substance abuse, school dropout, gang activity, early childbearing, etc.

the first step to making informed decisions is knowing a child, listening to their needs, and exploring a variety of youth programs. Sometimes, teens need a prevention vs. a youth development program, or a combination of both.

So now your know what is a Youth Development Program and differences between them and typical youth development programs